Police discovered the lifeless body of a woman inside her unit at the Lakes of Madera Apartments on West Baker in Baytown in May 2016. Investigators say she bore the marks of being brutally murdered. Court records would also later show that she was horrifically sexually assaulted as well.
Authorities, however, initially drew a blank as to who the culprit might be for the murder of Nataliya Shal who was first found inside her apartment lying facedown.
The investigations were both long and hard. DNA testing didn’t yield a match for over a year, detectives wracking their brains piecing together information in an attempt to finally nail down the suspect. Everyone involved in the case was concerned that the criminal was still on the loose, posing a danger to other women and to society.
Finally, a breakthrough came. As such, the Baytown Police Department announced on Facebook that a suspect has not only been named but arrested on Friday - 29-year-old Byron Lloyd Collins.
The breakthrough finally came in June when investigators got a hit, matching the DNA to Collins’ brother in prison. Police say Collins lives on-and-off as it is in the same complex where the murder took place. Investigators brought Collins for questioning when the DNA testing matched the crime scene DNA.
Prosecutors on Saturday’s hearing also said that the DNA found on a cigarette smoked by Collins matched the DNA discovered during the homicide probe.
At the start of the investigation last year, police could only release a composite sketch of the suspect around October in 2016. The authorities also expressed concerns that the killer remains on the streets. They said that they take such cases very personally simply because they understand how important the investigations are and a sense of justice to the victims and their families.
Shal’s husband was devastated with her gruesome murder. He was out of town for work at the time of the murder. He said of his wife: “Always smiling- every time I saw her she was smiling.”
He was unable to contact her on the day of the murder, and it must have been an instinct that pushed him to contact the police and asked them to check on his wife.
Responding officers who arrived at the couple’s apartment looked through a window and spotted the woman lying down.
Investigators say the victim did not know Collins prior to the attack.
Collins will likely face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of capital murder.